Mash Out!—Ways to Fight Boredom During the Apocalypse

I’m sure you’ve all heard by now that there is a global epidemic. Most of us are staying home as much as possible. Maybe your kids are off school and you have to learn to be a homeschool teacher or maybe you’re just social distancing. Either way, you probably have some more spare time on your hands. Here’s a list of some of the things you can do to survive the apocalypse

Brew something!

This is the obvious one, but I encourage you to try something new. What is a style that you’ve never brewed before? Maybe a grazter or a gruit. How about a technique you’ve never used? Maybe lagering or step mashing. I’ve been meaning to try out non-enzymatic mashing. You could even go so far as to brew a completely different beverage than beer! Mead, braggot, wine, cider, kombucha, root beer, ginger beer etc. There are lots of options for non-beer brewing.

Support your local home brew shop!

While many home brew shops have closed down, many are still open but have had to change up the way they do things. Some are adding delivery or pickup options and some are adding mail order if that wasn’t a previous option.

Here’s a list of some of the home brew shops that are still operating to help you get your brew on. Please keep in mind that with the nature of the pandemic, these could change at a moment’s notice. Please check their websites for the latest information.

Short Finger Brewing Co. in Kitchener, ON (shortfingerbrewing.com) is currently operating as an online-only store. For the time being, they are offering free shipping on and order of $125 or more (excluding carboys and 55lb sacks of grain). They are also offering Red Truck delivery for local customers in Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph or Cambridge if you purchase at least 1L of their draft beer. Sounds like a win-win to me!

Fraser Mills Fermentation Supplies in Port Moody, BC (frasermillsfermentation.com) is still open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 11am-3pm and Friday from 11am-5pm. Please send your order through their website, email or phone in advance! They are also offering special delivery days in the lower mainland for $12. Fraser Mills will match your $12 and donate it to the local food bank! Langley can get delivery on Tuesday, Surrey on Wednesday, Vancouver on Thursday, Burnaby and New West get theirs on Friday, Tri-Cities, Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge get deliveries 7 days a week.

Grain to Glass in Winnipeg (graintoglass.ca) has closed its physical location to the public but they are offering free delivery within Winnipeg or curbside pick up.

Beer Grains Supply in Gatineau, QC (beergrains.com) has closed their retail store but their online store is still open.

La Cachette du Bootlegger in Baie-D’Urfe, QC (cachettedubootlegger.ca) has closed their bricks and mortar location but is still shipping orders and is still available for back door pick up.

Barley’s Homebrewing Supplies in New Westminster, BC (barleyshomebrewing.com) is still open but with slightly changed hours and only one customer at a time in the store.

The Vineyard in Calgary (thevineyard.ca) is accepting phone and email orders for curbside pickup.

Grapes to Glass in Calgary (grapestoglass.com) is open regular hours but encourages you to email your order in and they will have it for you to pick up in 24-48 hours. They also deliver to some parts of Calgary for a small fee and can ship orders that do not contain glass through Canada Post.

Le Cellier Moderne in Salaberry-De-Valleyfield, QC is currently closed until May 4th.

Noble Grape stores in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick (noblegrape.ca) has closed their stores to the public but orders can be placed online and picked up at the store or shipped out.

Check out an online course or webinar!

This whole pandemic thing sucks but considering they didn’t have the internet during the Spanish Flu, we’re pretty lucky. There are a few places you can go online, watch a video or two and learn something about brewing.

Escarpment Labs is doing a webinar series on yeast that you can access through their site at escarpmentlabs.com.

White Labs is also doing a webinar Wednesdays series until the end of April. Check it out at https://www.whitelabs.com/news/white-labs-wednesday-webcast-series.

Cicerone.org has been doing a series of beer tastings and discussions via youtube live. Crack open a bottle of the designated beer and dive into some great beer discussion.

Edx.org has a couple of free online brewing courses. “The Science of Beer” and “Beer: The Science of Brewing”

Dr. Charlie Bamford has a plethora of videos on Youtube that will keep you entertained while being educated for hours!

And of course, we have a few videos from our Speaker Series, that cover competition brewing, German beer styles and brewing with wild yeast! This month’s Speaker Series is with Prairie North Cider’s Nathan Smith about cider making!

Podcasts! Podcasts! Podcasts

There are lots and lots of brewing podcasts available for your listening pleasure. Catch up on an old favourite or check out a new one. Some of my favourites are:

  • Experimental Brewing with Drew Beechum and Denny Conn
  • The Brulosophy Podcast
  • Milk the Funk the Podcast
  • The Sour Hour
  • The Session
  • The Beersmith Podcast
  • The Master Brewers Podcast

Support your local brewery!

Many local businesses have had to adapt to the times and change their business plans in order to succeed. Craft breweries are no exception to this and they have certainly responded. Many breweries are offering pickup orders, shipping and delivery. Once you’ve got that golden nectar (or whatever colour your beer of choice happens to be) in your hands, fire up the ol’ computer and connect with your buddies via your preferred video conferencing app. Hang out, chat about life, drink some beer together!

What have you been doing to keep yourself busy during the pandemic? Have I missed anything? Do you have anything to add? Please email me at mike@canadahomebrews.ca with any comments, questions or concerns.

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